"Notes on a Stay in a Hospital Quarantine Cell"

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Patricia G. Horan

Patricia G. Horan

Patricia Horan is with Elizabeth Sabo.


Dear friends of our beloved Patricia,

After testing positive with COVID one week ago, Patricia has completed the great passage, clear-eyed and focused, strong and ready, in the embrace of the tremendous love we all shared with her. Brava, Patricia G. Horan, brava.

Please enjoy her final poem, written with insistence and ferocity via text from her hospital bed just three days ago.

12-30-20, 6:45pm  

- Elizabeth Sabo

December 27, 2020

I swallow my pride and it tastes like honey and salt.

The air has embraced my private body and has approved, and it quietly rejoices in its revelations and the liberation of its childlike spills and neediness. How I reach to love it suddenly, this stranger I’ve kept in a fifties New Jersey suitcase, only removing it for one afternoon on a nude fire island beach.

Now it is truly liberated in a small windowless quarantine room in North Carolina.

The machines behind me beep, shining little christmas trees, watching my pulses, systems, and disturbances like grandmothers, occasionally clucking, unfashionably faithful through the night. I am pinned head to toe to a proud family of counters, weighers, and witnesses. This little womb and its divine protocols.

Shame is peeled from the human body when the body is wet with sweet tears and shocking love. It has suckers like snails and they make marks. The shameless body houses the soul proudly instead of shrouding it.

My mother tells me I began to walk on my first birthday. Today I took steps alone from the commode to the bed, to the applause of my caregiver. Eighty years has incensed up in a laughing swirl of smudge smoke. A laughing swirl of smudge smoke and ageless birthday courage.

Echoing a hated preachment, I see that my life is just where it belongs, that mistakes are potholes filled in with diamonds.

If this dream goes away in the glare and blare of rough reality I will lovingly remember it the way I recall my dying mother squeezing my hand that is now identical to hers. My tenderness spills over in tears of recognition and reconciliation.

Message from a Quarantine Room.

Little womb of a room.


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